HIV and AIDS are not knowing boundaries and the internet is one of the excellent tools to connect people. And astonishing enough you get used to people you don’t know at all but somehow you feel attached. I would say all people living with the virus or working in the field of HIV and AIDS know about the website: thebody.com. A vast source of information and people can write with their experience and problems and there are doctors answering those questions – which means that others can also benefit from the answers by reading them.
Robert James Frascino, M.D. was one of those doctors working for the website and he passed away a couple of days ago – age 59 years old. Known as “Dr. Bob” to so many, he was incredible and inspiring and I loved like thousands others to read his responses: they were qualified but full of compassion, humour and somehow hitting the nail. Dr. Bob was a brilliant immunologist who was working in HIV well before he became HIV positive in 1991. In the mid-90s, he and his husband, Steve Natterstad, M.D. formed a charity called The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation which has raised more than $1,500,000 for various HIV/AIDS causes. Each year, Bob and Steve, both pianists, perform at their benefit called A Concerted Effort.
Bob started working with TheBody.com in May 2000 in the Q&A forums. He has touched millions of people through his Q&A forums on HIV prevention and HIV-related fatigue and anemia, as well as his blog. He answered nearly 30,000 questions over that time period — truly astounding. No matter how insane or serious the question, Bob always found a way to bring humor to every response. He never sugar-coated anything, never shied away from his political inclinations and never met a pun he didn’t like. His singular wit made his forums a must read for HIV-positive and HIV-negative people alike.
Dr Bob was one of the familiar faces on the internet, which I grew attached to. And I always promised myself, that my next travel to the USA will include a try to visit him. I truly believe that he was one of the few people who celebrated life to the fullest but at the same time cared much about his fellow men. I will somehow miss him and his answers…… R.I.P.